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Why a Potential Pokemon Go Movie is Possibly Worrisome

Originally published July 12, 2016

Despite it being less than a week since the super popular Pokemon Go app was released, apparently, negotiations are already underway for a live-action film.  According to the New Zealand Herald, Legendary Pictures is in the process of securing the rights to make a live-action Pokemon film.

Details are thin in regards to who the specific individuals will be attached to this project if a deal is made, such as the director, producer, screenwriter, etc. In addition, it is currently unknown how such a film would be made from this app game alone. After all, Pokemon Go comes 20 years after the franchise’s debut, where various video games, trading cards, and an ongoing TV series have spurred from.

One thing that can be attested to is where there’s Pokemon, there are also the people who train them, and based upon anime that have been previously (and currently being) adapted for screen, you can probably can see where I’m going with this: Will a potential Pokemon Go movie be another example of the human characters being whitewashed?

It’s bad enough it’s happened to DRAGONBALL Z, and it’s bad enough Scarlett Johansson is continuing this racist trope by sticking to her role in the upcoming GHOST IN THE SHELL. To have this happen in a live action Pokemon movie would be a true downer, for if this past week proved anything, is that this world of little monsters with special powers is still heavily embraced by many.

It’s because of the love for the franchise, as well as the continual ritual call out whenever a white actor is cast as an Asian character, that I would hope the folks at Legendary Pictures would understand what it is that that they’re doing. But sadly, I also wouldn’t be surprised if they choose to go down that dreaded route anyway, despite the fact that they should know by now that all hell will break loose if they do so.

Like many other people, Pokemon was a part of my childhood. If a movie is to be made, I would want it to be made with the proper respect and love that it deserves, and that goes for not casting white actors in the roles of the human characters. Is it wrong to hope?

Legendary Pictures: If the deal goes through and you get the rights to make this movie, know that all eyes are on you to not screw this up. Besides, wouldn’t you want this anime adaptation to be “the very best, like no one ever was”?

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